Review board halts processing of DOD furlough appeals

eye-opener-logo6A federal review panel has suspended its processing of furlough appeals from civilian defense employees, citing an “unprecedented large volume” of cases from the federal workers.

The Merit Systems Protection Board said in an announcement that it will postpone action on the appeals “until we have a better understanding of the claims being raised, the work locations of the appellants, the MSPB offices in which the appeals have been filed, and whether or not the appellants are represented.”

(Dayna Smith/For The Washington Post) -  Marie Sumner, an MSPB supervisor, sorts through thousands of appeals filed by federal employees facing furloughs under the sequester.

(Dayna Smith/For The Washington Post) – Marie Sumner, an MSPB supervisor, sorts through thousands of appeals filed by federal employees facing furloughs under the sequester.

The board said it will continue processing appeals from employees who work at federal agencies outside the Defense Department. The number of cases had risen to 30,000 by Friday of last week.

Labor groups have encouraged federal workers to appeal their furloughs to send a message to Washington that “we’re not going to just roll over and take this lying down,” as a lawyer for the American Federation of Government Employees stated in a July Washington Post article.

Civilian defense workers carry the heaviest burden among federal employees when it comes to forced unpaid leave under the automatic spending reductions known as the sequester. The Pentagon is furloughing 640,000 workers for six days as part of its plan to meet cost-cutting targets.

The Defense Department initially anticipated 22 furlough days, but it dropped the number to 14 and then 11 after Congress granted the agency more budgeting flexibility. The Pentagon reduced the number to six days earlier this month.

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